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Earth’s Interior Current Events


First Geothermal Plant in New Mexico
April 13, 2014 | KOB4

KOB4 has a short report on Lightning Dock Geothermal, the first geothermal plant to open in the state of New Mexico.

Will Yellowstone Erupt in Our Lifetime?
April 10, 2014 | National Science Foundation

“Yellowstone is like a conveyer belt of caldera clusters,” he says. “By investigating the patterns of behavior in two previously completed caldera cycles, we can suggest that the current activity of Yellowstone is on the dying cycle.”

Related: The Volcano Beneath Yellowstone

Volcano Report for Peru and Chile
April 6, 2014 | Eruptions Blog

Erik Klemetti posts an update on recent activity at Ubinas Volcano in Peru. In addition, some people have expressed concern about the recent magnitude 8.2 earthquake triggering an eruption at one of several nearby volcanos, Erik comments on these concerns plus, in another post, on the recent earthquake at Yellowstone.

Grave Hunting for Wild Bill?
March 18, 2014 | Earth Magazine

An article on the Earth Magazine website tells a few stories about how magnetism can be used to find things and answer a number of questions.

Oceans Beneath the Earth?
March 18, 2014 | University of Alberta

“It might be the ugliest diamond you’ll ever see, but within this brown sliver of carbon is a gem of a find for a University of Alberta scientist working to unravel an ocean-sized mystery deep beneath the Earth.” Quoted from the University of Alberta press release.

Geology of Diamonds
February 18, 2014 | GeoscienceWorld.org

An interesting article on “Diamonds and the Geology of Mantle Carbon” that considers the various types of diamonds, their host rocks, inclusions, geographic distribution, environments of formation, age, trace element composition, textures, carbon/nitrogen isotopes, geobarometry, and lots more.

Peridotite
February 13, 2014 | Geology.com

Peridotite is a host rock of chromite, a source rock of diamonds, a potential sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and the rock that makes up much of Earth’s mantle. Did you realize it was so important?

Related: Misconception: Diamonds Don’t Form From Coal

Reviewing the New Madrid Earthquakes
February 4, 2014 | Smithsonian.com

An article on the Smithsonian.com website looks back at the New Madrid, Missouri earthquakes of 1811 and 1812 (the strongest earthquakes in the recorded history of the conterminous 48 states) and looks forward to the possibility that similar events might occur in the future.

New Madrid is not Slowing Down
January 30, 2014 | USGS

Earthquake activity in the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the central United States does not seem to be slowing down.

USGS investigates whether current quakes in the region could be aftershocks of large earthquakes that occurred 200 years earlier.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

Northridge Earthquake Web Exhibit
January 14, 2014 | EarthquakeCountry.org

“The Northridge 20 Virtual Exhibit website presents teachable moments – to learn and reflect, to share and to act. Teeming with content, graphics and video recounting the events of January 1994, this exhibit seeks to empower and motivate us to make ourselves safer in future earthquakes.” Quoted from EarthquakeCountry.org.

Hot Rock Under the Atlas Mountains
January 14, 2014 | University of Southern California

“The Atlas Mountains defy the standard model for mountain structure in which high topography must have deep roots for support, according to a new study from Earth scientists at USC.” Quoted from the University of Southern California press release.

Impact of Arizona Geology on Geologic Concepts
January 1, 2014 | Arizona Geology

“Arizona makes up a tiny fraction of the land surface on Earth. However, it has had a comparatively larger impact on the evolution of geologic concepts, especially in three areas of geologic inquiry: (1) porphyry copper deposits, (2) metamorphic core complexes, and (3) evolution of large rivers.” Quoted from the Arizona Geology article.

Dissipation of Energy by Deep Earthquakes
December 29, 2013 | NBC News

“An investigation of the most powerful earthquake ever recorded deep within the Earth suggests deep quakes may be better at dissipating pent-up energy than similar quakes near the surface.” Quoted from the NBC News story.

Size of the Yellowstone Magma Chamber Severely Underestimated?
December 26, 2013 | National Geographic

The magma reservoir below Yellowstone National Park could be two-and-a-half times larger than previously thought!

Related: The Yellowstone Supervolcano

The Status of U.S. Secondary Earth Science Education
October 19, 2013 | American Geosciences Institute

“The Center for Geoscience Education and Public Understanding at the American Geosciences Institute has released a landmark report on the status of Earth Science education in U.S. middle and high schools, describing in detail significant gaps between identified priorities and lagging practice.” Quoted from the AGI press release.

Higher Risk in the New Madrid Seismic Zone
October 17, 2013 | USGS

New research provides insight on why the New Madrid Seismic Zone is unique and may continue to pose a higher earthquake risk than adjacent areas in the central United States.

Deep Sea Internet Has Geological Applications
October 17, 2013 | University at Buffalo

“University at Buffalo researchers are developing a deep-sea Internet. The technological breakthrough could lead to improvements in tsunami detection, offshore oil and natural gas exploration, surveillance, pollution monitoring and other activities.” Quoted from the University at Buffalo press release.

The Government Shutdown and Geology
October 15, 2013 | American Geophysical Union

The American Geophysical Union has a short article that explains why the “Government Shutdown Affects More Than Jobs“.

USGS Image
Magnitude 7.7 Earthquake Kills Over 200 in Pakistan
September 25, 2013 | The Weather Channel

At least 200 people were killed by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.

MUD VOLCANO?

There is a report that a mud volcano formed an island off the coast in the Arabian Sea at the same time that the earthquake was occurring. The Weather Channel video has comments on this from a USGS scientist.

The Largest Deep Earthquake Ever Recorded
September 22, 2013 | University of California Santa Cruz

“A magnitude 8.3 earthquake that struck deep beneath the Sea of Okhotsk on May 24, 2013, has left seismologists struggling to explain how it happened. At a depth of about 609 kilometers (378 miles), the intense pressure on the fault should inhibit the kind of rupture that took place.” Quoted from the University of California Santa Cruz press release.

Monitoring Slow Earthquakes to Predict Large Earthquakes?
September 16, 2013 | Penn State University

“We currently don’t have any way to remotely monitor when land faults are about to move” [...] “This has the potential to change the game for earthquake monitoring and prediction, because if it is right and you can make the right predictions, it could be big.”

Explosive Magma Can Lurk for 100000 Years
September 12, 2013 | University of Washington

“Reservoirs of silica-rich magma — the kind that causes the most explosive volcanic eruptions — can persist in the Earth’s upper crust for hundreds of thousands of years without triggering an eruption, according to new University of Washington research.”

Detecting Large Landslides in Remote Areas
September 4, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

“Even when they occur in remote areas, large landslides can dam rivers and lead to devastating downstream floods. [...]

Automated earthquake detection systems are tuned to monitor intense, “short-period” waves produced by sudden slips along tectonic faults. Landslides produce seismic waves as well, though their short-period signal is weak. Instead, they make powerful long-period waves that are sometimes detectable at great distances.” Quoted from the Earth Observatory article.

2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Seiches in Norwegian Fjords
August 26, 2013 | LiveScience

The March 11, 2011 Magnitude 9.0 earthquake that shook northeastern Japan also produced seiches in Norweigian fjords.

USGS image
Imploding a Building to Learn about the Hayward Fault
August 15, 2013 | USGS

“When 13-story Warren Hall is imploded by demolition experts this weekend on the Hayward campus of California State University, East Bay, U.S. Geological Survey scientists will monitor the pulse of energy on nearly 600 seismometers temporarily placed in a two-mile radius around the building with help from hundreds of citizen-scientist hosts and volunteers.” Quoted from the USGS website.

Popular Stories for July 15 to July 31
August 3, 2013 | Geology.com

Sinkhole Photos – Wow!

Debris Flow in Southern Utah

The Strangest Volcanic Landscape

Thousands of Volcanoes in Arizona?

An Embryonic Subduction Zone in the Atlantic?

The Geologist Who Discovered Canadian Diamonds

Missing-Mantle Mystery

Top Diamond Producers

USGS on Man-Made Earthquakes
July 22, 2013 | USGS

“The number of earthquakes has increased dramatically over the past few years within the central and eastern United States. [...] This increase in earthquakes prompts two important questions: Are they natural, or man-made?” Quoted from the USGS blog post.

Missing-Mantle Mystery
July 21, 2013 | MIT

“But there remains one lingering mystery: If the Earth arose from the collision of asteroids, its composition should resemble that of meteoroids, the small particles that break off from asteroids. But to date, scientists have found that, quite literally, something doesn’t add up: Namely, the Earth’s mantle — the layer between the planet’s crust and core — is missing an amount of lead found in meteorites whose composition has been analyzed following impact with the Earth.” Quoted from the MIT press release.

Related: What is the Moho?

Did the Lower Crust Flow on Mars?
July 19, 2013 | Speaking of Geoscience Blog

“In particular, the southeast region of Tharsis bears strong resemblance in structure and topography to eastern Tibet. High topography and thick crust of eastern Tibet produces long, low-gradient plateau margins that may be caused by the flow of weakened lower crust. This has me thinking: if the lower crust flows in Tibet, did it do so on Mars?” Quoted from the Speaking of Geoscience article.

Waste Injection Tremors Triggered by Distant Earthquakes?
July 17, 2013 | Columbia University

“Large earthquakes from distant parts of the globe are setting off tremors around waste-fluid injection wells in the central United States…” Quoted from the Columbia University press release.

Using Ophiolites to Reduce Atmospheric CO2?
July 14, 2013 | Columbia University

Rocks brought from earth’s mantle react rapidly with carbon dioxide at the surface. Can these rocks be used to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere?

Slow Earthquakes on the San Andreas
June 17, 2013 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

An article on the Woods Hole Oceanographic website explains how parts of the San Andreas fault creep slowly instead of producing sudden earthquakes.

The Orphan Tsunami of 1700
May 20, 2013 | Smithsonian.com

Smithsonian.com has an article about Japan’s Orphan Tsunami (“orphan” because it was then unlinked to any earthquake) and how it was connected to an earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Life 500 Meters Below the Juan de Fuca Ridge
May 16, 2013 | Deep Carbon Observatory

Researchers have discovered evidence of life 500 meters below the seafloor of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. “They found genetic evidence of Methanosarcinales, anaerobic archaea known to metabolize methane. Further experiments showed that microbes have affected the chemical signature of sulfur in the host basalt, suggesting they could harness energy from the breakdown of sulfates.” Quoted from the Deep Carbon Observatory press release.

Deceptive Eruption Signals at Redoubt
May 7, 2013 | Carnegie Institution for Science

“Forecasting volcanic eruptions with success is heavily dependent on recognizing well-established patterns of pre-eruption unrest in the monitoring data. But in order to develop better monitoring procedures, it is also crucial to understand volcanic eruptions that deviate from these patterns.” Quoted from the Carnegie Institution for Science press release.

Monitoring the Fire Below Yellowstone
April 15, 2013 | American Museum of Natural History

Three of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in geologic history occurred at a place now visited by nearly four million people a year: Yellowstone National Park.

The Erosion and Tectonics Project
April 12, 2013 | American Museum of Natural History

The Erosion and Tectonics Project team is working to document “one paradox of geology – that weathering a mountain down can actually make it rise higher.”

Who Can Frack in France?
April 9, 2013 | Bloomberg Business News

The oil and gas industry in France is disappointed that the government banned hydraulic fracturing while the geothermal industry is allowed to use acid fracking to develop their wells.

The Lubricant for Tectonic Plates?
March 20, 2013 | Scripps News

“Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have found a layer of liquefied molten rock in Earth’s mantle that may be acting as a lubricant for the sliding motions of the planet’s massive tectonic plates.” Quoted from the Scripps press release.

Faces of Earth Videos
March 3, 2013 | American Geosciences Institute

The American Geosciences Institute has posted four “Faces of Earth” videos on their YouTube channel.

Check them out!

February: Most Popular News Items
March 1, 2013 | Geology.com

The India-Asia Collision (MIT News)

Earth Flyby Reality Check (NASA)

68,000-Year Record of Greenhouse Gases (NSF)

Meteoroid Explodes Over Russia – Hundreds Injured (CNN)

What is Killing the Coral? (NSF)

Underwater Logging (Takepart.com)

Ancient Eruptions and Global Warming (Climate Central)

Topographic Relief in the Southern Appalachians
February 21, 2013 | GSA Today

The new featured article in GSA Today: Miocene rejuvenation of topographic relief in the southern Appalachians.

January 2013: Most Popular
February 3, 2013 | Geology.com News

Giant Squid in the North Pacific

Every Field Geologist Should Know This…

Why Lava Has a Red Glow

Falling Water Levels in the Great Lakes

Eruption at Copahue

How Deep Does Magma Form?

M6.1 Earthquake on the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge

2012: Hottest and Second Most Extreme

How Deep Does Magma Form?
January 15, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“Magma forms far deeper than geologists previously thought. [...] A study simulating pressures in the mantle beneath the ocean floor shows that rocks can melt at depths up to 250 kilometers.” Quoted from the NSF press release.

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Homeowners InsuranceHomeowners Insurance usually does not cover damage caused by floods, landslides, earthquakes and other geohazards.
frac sandFrac Sand is a high-purity silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing to enhance the flow of oil and gas from tight rock units.
Diamond formationDiamonds from Coal? Diamonds form under a variety of conditions that rarely involve coal as a source of carbon.
fluorescent mineralsFluorescent Minerals glow with spectacular colors when illuminated in the dark with an ultraviolet lamp.
Uses of heliumHelium is a byproduct of the natural gas industry. Its most important use is in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
Canada diamond minesCanada Diamond Mines: Canada is the third largest producer of gem-quality diamonds in the world.
Utica shaleUtica Shale: New wells in eastern Ohio prove that the Utica Shale will be a major source of natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Green River fossilsSpectacular Fossils of the Green River Formation. Some of the world's best-preserved fossil fish from an intermountain lake.
OpalOpals: Gem quality opal is one of the most spectacular gemstones. A single stone can flash with every color of the spectrum.
NovaruptaMost Powerful Eruption of the 20th Century: People in Juneau heard the volcanic blast - over one hour after it occurred.


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